Week Eight is here! It’s time to wrap up conference titles and increase the intensity level. While it’s true that some teams will not play for the conference title until next week, some schools are already looking at basketballs, hockey pucks, bowling pins, and wrestling headgear. Don’t look ahead boys! It’s still football season. There are two games to play still! Some of the players will never suit up to play another football game in their lives. Cherish every moment, even the ones you grind through! Time to talk some FOOTBALL!
Congrats to Flint Michigan School for the Deaf
I would like to send a heartfelt congratulation to the Tartars. They hadn’t won a football game since 1978 before they beat New Haven Merritt Academy last Thursday. Although their program was stopped in 1985 and not restarted until 2009, that doesn’t mean this win had any less significance. These boys grinded through four seasons before they got that elusive first W. Congrats to Coach Sammy Oates and all 11 of his players for that 50-26 win. Click Here Read the article on Mlive.
Marlette (7-0) at Harbor Beach (6-1) (Friday October 18, 7pm)
Marlette is an interesting football team. They have had some recent success mixed with mediocre seasons. This year, they are perfect. The Red Raiders have never started out a season 7-0 as far as I can tell. This game is HUGE for them. A win will give them their first football championship since 1975. Last week, they won a close game over Sandusky 48-46. It wasn’t easy though. At one point, the Red Raiders were down 30-6, but battled back and won the game. Quarterback Brad Schaub busted through the line and ran 58 yards to score in the fourth quarter to get a two score lead and help secure the victory. On the night, Schaub rushed 23 times for 187 yards and four touchdowns while also completing 14 of his 22 passes 167 yards and three touchdowns. Collin Henry grabbed six passes for 59 yards. Connar Thomas grabbed three receptions for 50 yards and a score. This game is going to be a battle!
Harbor Beach is coming off a state championship season. I know, I know…last year doesn’t matter especially since we are nearly to the playoffs in the following season. The one blemish that the Pirates have was against UP powerhouse Menominee back in Week Three. Last week, they blasted Ubly 55-6. Unfortunately, I could not find any stats on the game. Both teams are undefeated in conference play and there are no more remaining conference games after this week. The winner will take home the Greater Thumb Conference East Division title for 2013.
Clinton Township Chippewa Valley (7-0) at Macomb Dakota (7-0) (Friday October 18, 7pm)
This is a game that I’ve been waiting to write about since before the first scrimmage of the year. These two teams have been on a collision course since then. The winner takes home championship hardware while the loser just goes home. Chippewa Valley beat Sterling Heights Stevenson last week 35-14. Doug Robert rushed 18 times for 142 yards and caught two touchdown passes. Quarterback Brendan Rohlff completed nine of his 19 passes for 118 yards and four touchdowns. Sean Bunting caught two TDs as well.
Macomb Dakota has been riding their awesome defense this season. So far, they have only given up 35 total points. Last week, they blasted Utica Ford 50-13. Quarterback Tyler Crowell completed eight of his 14 passes for 130 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception. He also ran three times for 40 yards to make him the leading rusher. Sophomore Teddy West ran nine times for 28 yards. Maurice Moon rushed eight times for 32 yards. Mustafa Abdur-rahman caught three passes for 84 yards and a touchdown while also returning a kickoff for 26 additional yards. Josh Burnham led the way on defense with 10 tackles. This game has big implications. It’s quite possible for these two squads to have a playoff game against each other. The winner would have home field advantage for that game.
Hancock (3-4) at Iron River West Iron County (7-0) (Friday October 18m 7pm)
It hasn’t been the best season for Hancock. They have only three wins on the season. Last week, it took an overtime period to beat a winless (but tough) Ironwood squad. The Bulldogs started out quick, returning the opening kickoff 82 yards for a score (Denver Sharrow was hardly touched.) The game was back and forth throughout, but a score by Ironwood with less than two minutes to play tied it up and forced an overtime period. Hancock was able to score and put in their two point conversion while stopping Ironwood’s attempt at the same to force a second overtime. Brandon Barnes led the rushing attack with 30 carries for 193 yards and a score. Quarterback Tanner Kearly completed 10 of his 27 passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns. Carl Kangas caught both touchdowns. The Bulldogs have a chance to blemish the Wykon’s record and give the winner of the Eagle River vs. L’Anse game a share of the Western Peninsula Athletic Conference title.
Iron River West Iron County has been a yo-yo team as of late. One year, they are very tough and win lots of game. The next, they lose a lot of games. Last week, they beat Eagle River (a team from Wisconsin but plays in their conference…I have no idea why) 39-6. Coach Mike Berutti was proud of his team and how they blocked out the distractions of homecoming and a big game to come away with a huge win to secure a share of the WPAC. It’s the first time since 1974 that Iron River has started out 7-0. The first half was huge, as they came away with four interceptions (two by Colton Pangrazzi, including a 41 yard return for a touchdown) and scored all of their points. Quarterback Andrew Peterson completed four of his eight passes for 73 yards and a touchdown as well as running five times for 46 more and two scores. Chasz Jonet reeled in that 29 yard touchdown reception for his only catch of the game. Alec Schmelebeck rushed nine times for 74 yards and a score. Tyler Polich rushed eight times for 42 yards. It’s an important week for the Wykons. They can win the WPAC outright if they finish the conference schedule strong against Hancock.
Portage Central (7-0) at St. Joseph (7-0) (Friday October 18, 7pm)
This is another game for a conference title. For these two teams, it’s all about the Southwest Michigan Athletic Conference West Division crown. Both have conference titles in the last 10 years. They are gearing up for a battle of the unbeaten teams. Portage Central beat up Kalamazoo Central last week 48-7. In the second quarter, the Mustangs scored 27 points. That helped them cruise to a victory. Quarterback Ryan Mergener completed five of his six passes for 141 yards and two scores. Max Ryan grabbed both touchdown receptions on his only receptions of the game and gained 87 yards on those scores. Mergener also rushed five times for 29 yards and a score. Jerrod Davis was the leading rusher with nine runs for 89 yards and a score. Jacob Allen also toted the rock nine times, gained 55 yards, and scored a touchdown.
St. Joseph is gunning for a conference title. The last title they won was back in 2008 before the conference expanded. Last week, they beat Benton Harbor 30-21. Quarterback A.J. Montoya completed five of his 19 passes for 108 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Terill Wilber hauled in three passes for 82 yards and that touchdown. Derek Burton was the leading rusher with 12 runs for 104 yards. Jack Turak was the back who scored both of the rushing touchdowns. He ran seven times for 46 yards and those two scores. Sean Akins had a pick six from 25 yards out in the second quarter. Cullen Hoffman nailed a 40 yard field goal in the middle of the fourth quarter. This game is all about desire. Both teams have a chance to pull off a win and get that gym hardware. These two teams have played each other for the conference title many times back in the 1980’s and 1990’s.